Fear. Loneliness. Grief. Pain. These feelings are all too familiar for many of us right now. Social and economic distress, along with mandated isolation, can trigger anxiety and depression in all of us. But for those who seek relief by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, the epidemic within the pandemic is called addiction. And for those already in a treatment program, the fear of interruptions in treatment and relapsing is very real.
With more than 174 opioid use disorder referrals in the last five months, HealthLinc’s Mobile Response Team (MRT) has seen an uptick in recent referrals that coincides with additional hardships and mental health challenges during this health crisis. Coping with the destruction caused by a pandemic can be challenging and heartbreaking, and the peer recovery coaches are on the front lines helping people with substance use disorder who already face many obstacles to treatment. The coronavirus outbreak has raised concerns for those needing addiction and recovery treatment while adhering to social distancing and self-quarantine guidelines to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, although the pandemic threatens everyone, it regrettably endangers millions of Americans with opioid use disorder, who are already vulnerable, marginalized, and heavily dependent on face-to-face health care. For those already in treatment, one of the biggest obstacles is disruption of care, particularly access to Opioid Treatment Programs, or OTPs, to receive Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Indiana state officials say more than 10,000 Hoosiers visit OTPs each day for opioid recovery and treatment. Many patients are required to visit daily to receive this treatment medication and our recovery coaches are still making sure our patients are getting to those appointments.
Governor Holcomb is no stranger to the opioid epidemic in Indiana and knows the important role MAT plays in successful healthy outcomes. The Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction has partnered with Overdose Lifeline to create lock-boxes that provide specific dose amounts of Suboxone and Naloxone kits for opioid treatment programs during the coronavirus outbreak. The boxes provide a secure method for those in need of life-saving self-administered medicine with take-home access and reduces the chances of possible exposure to coronavirus.
The HealthLinc MRT recovery coaches and coordinators are here to make sure our patients don’t experience any barriers to their recovery. During this pandemic, they are still conducting intakes, continuing face-to-face home visits, and driving patients to their essential MAT appointments as needed. They have also found doing online recovery with telemedicine appointments and addiction meetings while counseling patients on the phone to be crucial tools in overcoming social distancing and self-isolation obstacles.
If you or someone you know has an opioid use disorder, don’t let self-isolation be a barrier to your recovery. Please call 1-888-580-1060 (press 0 to make a referral) or email us today to learn more.